<
>

World Cup referee Craig Joubert heads officials list for Olympic rugby

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

South Africa's Craig Joubert heads the list of match officials chosen by World Rugby to referee at the Rio Olympics this year.

It will be Sevens' first exposure to the Games and the competition is being played in the showpiece event's opening week.

Joubert is well-known in rugby circles. He refereed the 2011 World Cup final and came under the spotlight in last year's tournament, making a key decision in the last throes of Scotland's quarterfinal against Australia which World Rugby later clarified as incorrect.

He has been refereeing on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit this year and is looking forward to officiating at the Games.

"A few years ago when I first heard that rugby was to be an Olympic sport, I started dreaming about returning to Sevens," Joubert said. "The environment remains as close-knit as I remember and the welcome from the Sevens family has been exceptionally warm. I'm thrilled to be selected in this group of officials as we build towards the Olympic Games in Rio."

Joubert is one of 12 men and 12 women selected. Australian referee Amy Perrett, who battled back from injury to be included on the women's panel, said: "The Olympic Games are incredibly special, something you dream about as a kid but never think you could actually get there.

"To be representing my country at the biggest sporting event in the world, and to be in the same arena as some of the greatest athletes of our generation, is such a great honour and a privilege."

Chairman of the World Rugby match official selection committee John Jeffrey added: "I wish to send my congratulations to the men and women selected to referee at the Olympic Games this year.

"It is the culmination of incredibly hard work over many years and, under the leadership of sevens referee manager Paddy O'Brien, they can go on to represent their unions and World Rugby on the biggest sporting stage of them all. Of course now is about preparing well so they can perform to their best on that stage and with the eyes of the sporting world upon them."